In 1978-79 Kevin Clarke photographed each department in the West Berlin department store Kaufhaus des Westens, Department Store of the West. Then newly renovated, the KaDeWe, as it is known, was the largest and most exclusive store in divided Berlin. Using a Leica 35mm camera and a tripod, Clarke photographed the products, salespeople, and their presentation. The 72 images build a subtle view of the salespersons and the sales interface that is by turns ironic, idiosyncratic, humorous, and deeply revealing.
The series was first exhibited at the Frankfurt Kunstverein in 1980. The German philosopher Wolfgang Fritz Haug, author of Critique of the Commodity Aesthetic,(Suhrkamp, 1972) wrote an introductory essay for the book. It was rejected by the publisher, Lothar Schirmer, who is also one of Europe’s great art collectors. Photography theorist Hans Scheuerer wrote the text that was finally printed. The impact of these photographs is currently being re-appraised by art historians in Germany and the U.S. (from the artist's homepage)